Sunday, June 29, 2008

Working HARD

... um, at knitting?Yup, I have been spending my days in various, semi-reclining positions, knitting away on a summer linen top. Occasionally I take a break to scarf down some hummus or take a shower, or read a few pages of Shogun, but that's about it. Oh, and I made this:
Vitalay's parents gave me all of these gorgeous, unprocessed amber beads in an effort to help my under-active thyroid. His mama is quite an accomplished herbalist, and a nurse, so I pretty much do whatever she tells me to.
Garlic, one of the family favorites:Their house is like a little patch of paradise, cool and surrounded by wide porches and a lush garden full of fruit trees and herbs.
I don't know what this one is, but it was described to me as "a mini-orange" and then plopped into my mouth. Perhaps it was the look of shock on my face or the hesitation before chewing that prompted the additional explanation, "And you eat the peel too." Oh. OK.
Baby strawberry!
My poor BF is getting his wisdom teeth out this week, so it's more likely that I'll have knitting to show you before any exciting travel pics of Jerusalem. Wish us luck--I was sick for a week when I got mine out, so I'm hoping it goes a lot smoother for him.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just in time for summer....


Pattern: Gathered Pullover, by Hana Jason, from Interweave Knits, Winter 2007
Yarn: Morehouse Merino 3-Strand, in navy, purchased at the Morehouse store during Rhinebeck '07; 5 1/2 skeins
Needles: Addi US 8, 32" throughout whole sweater
Ravelry link
Mods: I added waist shaping, pretty much following the shaping for the Hourglass Sweater from LMKG.
I also changed the stitch counts a little bit b/c of the larger gauge of my yarn--I essentially made an XS size, one step down from the smallest size given, for the body, but followed the directions for the smallest size on the sleeves, which worked out fine.
Also added a bit of length before starting the motif, since I have kind of a long waist and don't like when sweaters are too short on me. Also a little extra length on sleeves, cuz I like 'em long.
And last, but not least, I eliminated the 5 paired dec's and consecutive inc's over the breasts. I tried it, but ripped back and took them out--it just looked weird, and left holes, and I didn't want this to be the kind of sweater with holes over the nipples, ya know?

I absolutely love this sweater. It has been a long time since I've been so happy with a finished garment. If it weren't summer, I'd be wearing it every day. It fits perfectly--no weird bits or poochy places. I wore it on the plane to Israel in desperation to enjoy it at least once before folding it away for 3 months. And three cheers for Hana Jason for creating such a beautiful pattern!
The Morehouse Merino is a dream to knit with. Soft and sort of felty-feeling, it is thick and warm and lofty when knit, and became even more soft and supple than I thought possible after blocking. I'd been dying to knit a whole sweater out of it ever since I saw Jess Fig & Plum knitting this drool-inducing thing, and it was all I had hoped it would be, and more. :)
One more happy roof shot:
And thanks again to my photographer, for indulging my possibly bizarre-seeming requests for photos of woolly handknits in mid-June.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beautiful Tel Aviv

So it seems I am in love:Israel is beautiful!
A gorgeous, breathtaking countryside is one thing. To me, landscapes are beautiful in pretty much all of their natural forms--mountains, desert, the sea, the forest.
But often, I find myself falling for a place with a beautiful city. The kind that's not dominated by concrete and gigantic buildings, but instead full of trees and smaller, picturesque houses. The kind of place where you can walk to the corner coffee shop and sit outside, and not feel overwhelmed by big city hustle and bustle. New Orleans is like this, and sometimes I feel like my neighborhood in Brooklyn comes close.
But Tel Aviv has this feeling in abundance. Tropical and warm, full of lovely streets and beautiful buildings, coffee shops, bakeries, and places to sit outside and enjoy a cold beer with your gentleman companion. There's plenty of shade, not from skyscrapers but from palms and eucalyptus, and a constant breeze from the sea.
We visited the Old City, Jaffa, where the streets are twisty and turny and medieval, and contain surprises like this:
It seems I was really, really thrilled by this bathtub garden. A garden in a bathtub?! Who would have thought! I think I need one of these in NYC.
As always, everything's better with two:
A few days after arriving, Vitalay and I are both a little bit tanner, a little less tired, and a LOT more relaxed. We're keeping to our rigorous schedule of eating and sleeping, with the occasional sightseeing trip.
And I like to spend as much time as possible doing this:
It's the perfect knitting spot.
And last, but not least, today we discovered this:It seems that it was purchased long, long ago, and Vitalay was given the task of figuring out how it worked. Needless to say, this mission was never completed. But I managed to get the thing working today, so it looks like I may get to make that lining for my Habu bag, after all. Tomorrow, off to the fabric markets....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shalom!

I'm here!After an uneventful 12 hour flight, I arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon. Vitalay picked me up and brought me back to his lovely home, where I finally met his lovely parents. Since then I have ate, slept, ate, gone swimming, ate, knit, and ate. And slept. The jet lag, despite a rigorous Xanax regimen, has been a little rough this time around, but fortunately, I am permitted to nap at length, whenever I want. So long as I eat properly.
During the hours I have been awake, I managed to finish the Habu paper & silk bag I meant to have finished before I left:
That would be me, on the roof of his house. Yup, for realz. Can't wait to do some yoga up there.
Pattern: my shameless improvisation of a Habu sample I saw in their store.
Yarn: Habu Shosenshi paper (100% linen), 1.5 oz; random School Products silk tape from my stash
Needles: US 8 Addi's
I'm totally pleased with how it turned out. I really wanted something organic and slouchy to throw over my shoulder while in Israel--something that would hold a wallet, a camera, and some more knitting. :)
I only wish I'd had time to sew in the linen I bought to make a lining with--I didn't bring it b/c I don't have a sewing machine with me, but it will go in as soon as I get home.
The adjustable straps solve the stretching-out problem:
One more roof shot:
It is just too beautiful for words here. Warm and dry, flowers and trees full of fruit everywhere, and I haven't seen a cloud since I arrived....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All about me!




A Flickr Meme!
This is a game by cast on cast off, here by way of Blue Garter

Click through to Flickr and mouse over notes to see what I actually searched.

The rules:

Using fd’s Flickr Toys,

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Tag yourself if you want to play!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hemlock Ring Blanket


Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket by Jared Flood
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, just over 2 skeins
Needles: Addi US 3
More info here.
Peeps, this should be a lesson to me: Never cast on during final exams!!! Now, I loved the pattern. Gorgeous, gorgeous pattern. Loved the yarn too. Those semi-solids or whatever they're called? Beautiful.
But to cast on for a lace baby blanket with SIZE 3 NEEDLES? For a baby whose shower was 2 weeks away? Well, that just goes to show what happens after too many days of studying chemistry.
I did not *quite* finish it on time. Not having looked at the bind-off till I got there, I didn't realize it was going to take me as long as it did.
But it was delivered 2 days later, and I don't think Baby Cassidy minded much--she showed up a little earlier than expected, and thus was very understanding about my tardiness.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Babies babies babies!

It seems that we Spiders are a fertile group of girls lately--I think my other friends are starting to think I'm lying when I say I am going to another baby shower each weekend.
But I jumped at the chance to host the shower (actually, let's call it a babywarming, since this baby was about 4 weeks out of the oven at this point) for our brand-est new-est Spider mite, Cassie, lil' sis to the first Spider mite, Maia:
That's Kaitlyn and sweet baby Cassie, and Virginia.
Also present was Peter, who was our most recent arrival before Cassie's appearance. He also holds the illustrious title of the Only Boy Spider Mite. Lucky little guy!
He was pretty fascinated by Cassie. Hmm, could it be the start of a budding romance?
Lovely Lisa helped me co-host:
There was lots of food:
And I made the lemon bars from Smitten Kitchen--they were delish! Just the right tartness and texture:
There were loads of beautiful, hand-knitted gifts, but I really loved this gorgeous Baby Surprise Jacket knitted by Cathy:
The only catch? I did not quite finish my gift, the Hemlock Ring Blanket, in time. At 3 AM last night, a little ways into the very beautiful, but veeeerrryy slooowww bind-off, I had to admit defeat:
It's OK, though, I think Cassie will be cool with it, even a few days late.
Thank you to all of my lovely Spiders who came over and made this such a great day (and especially Virginia who came early to help with the set-up--I can be a little scattered the morning of a party!).
And thank you to my sweet boyfriend for helping me get the house ready, and for making your fabulous lasagna, and playing bartender:
Whew! Now I get to put my feet up, while snacking on a glass of milk and the rest of Jess's fabulous Oreos, and bind off the rest of that blanket! Queue up the Battlestar Gallactica, please!